Shooting from the lip/March 5 edition
The latest from the sports media world ...
Sports media controversy of the week
Sports Illustrated has dismissed motor sports freelance writer Tom Bowles for cheering Trevor Bayne's victory at the Daytona 500. In a column on Frontstretch.com, Bowles admitted to clapping for Bayne because he believed Bayne's victory was a much-needed breath of fresh air for NASCAR. Bowles wrote, "Before I could control it, my hands were coming together to join them, caught up with fans and media alike in a moment we could all appreciate.''
He went on to write that he understood the importance of impartiality but he should be judged on his stories. He also wrote: "Fact: I clapped and then shook Trevor Bayne's hand on the way out along with many assembled media in attendance. Analysis: I still wrote a well-reasoned, well-thought-out postrace column on a variety of topics that would have happened if Bayne or Kyle Busch had won. … If a supposed lapse of ethics proves to be my downfall despite an undying passion and thirst for knowledge regardless of the consequences, so be it. At least I can look in the mirror at the end of the night, smile and give a round of applause for staying true to myself.''
It's hard to say which is worse: that Bowles clapped for Bayne or that he defended his behavior. Bottom line: There is no cheering in the press box. Ever. End of story. It's not unusual for reporters to let out a "wow'' or "Holy mackerel, did you just see that?!'' in the press box after a remarkable catch or goal. But no professional journalist should ever let his hands come together to celebrate someone's victory. Reporters root for one thing: a good story. Who wins and loses never matters. It's a shame that anyone loses his job in this economy, but Bowles broke one of the most basic rules of sports reporting.
40-yard dash of the day
The best thing on all of television over the past week might have been NFL Network host Rich Eisen running a 40-yard dash at the NFL combine. Dressed in a full suit with jacket and tie and with very little warmup, the 41-year-old Eisen finished in 6.18 seconds.
That naturally, was slower than any player at the combine. But think about it. That's still less than two seconds from the top runners at the combine. Now, two seconds is an eternity in football. But it just amplifies how there is hardly any difference between a guy running a 4.5 and a 4.9. The point of all this is to wonder how running 40 yards or jumping in the air without football pads really tells us how good of a football player someone is.
Best TV moment
Interesting moment during Thursday's Outside the Lines First Report show on ESPN on Thursday. NFL analyst Chris Mortensen was giving an update on the NFL labor situation when his cell phone rang. On camera, Mortensen stopped, looked at his phone and then said he had to take the call.
Announcer of the day
NBA analyst Reggie Miller, who has made a smooth transition from player to broadcaster on TNT, will try something new Sunday. He will call his first college game. Miller has been assigned the Kentucky-Tennessee game on CBS as that network and Turner Sports get ready for the NCAA Tournament. Look for Miller to call tournament games as well. It will be interesting to see how the NBA analysts, including Charles Barkley and Steve Kerr, adjust to their role as college analysts over the next month. Miller told Yahoo Sports the biggest adjustment will be learning the teams and players.
"You know all 30 teams in the NBA. And out of those 30 teams, you can probably name 10 guys on each roster,'' Miller said. "Obviously, that's a little different when you're dealing with so many college teams.''
Show of the day
We've had the Real Housewives of Orange County and New Jersey and so on. And we've had NBA players' wives. What's next? How about a show on what it's like to be the wife of a golf professional? A group of PGA Tour wives has hired a marketing firm to help land a reality show based on their lives. According to golf.com, the wives of Bob Estes, Will MacKenzie and Matt Jones are trying to drum up interest for a show.
Amir Amiri, who is the CEO of the marketing firm hired by the wives, said he believes a show is perfect "given the swell of attention the Tiger Woods scandal brought to the personal lives of pro golfers.''
Jeepers, if the show is anything like Woods' personal life, count us in.
Shocking TV numbers of the day
This is incredible. The Florida Panthers are drawing a .19 local television rating for their games. That means less than 1 percent of the South Florida households with televisions -- or about 3,000 people -- are tuning into the games. That's fewer people than watch informercials. Seriously. On Sunday, infomercials for the Ninja Professional Blender/Chopper and Ice Crusher and one for the AbCoaster exercise machine had a higher television rating than the average Panthers game. A kid's show called Doodlebops, which is shown on Sundays at 7 a.m., had a better rating.
At the halfway point of the season, according to Sports Business Daily, the Lightning had seen a 27 percent increase in TV ratings on Sun Sports, the fourth-highest jump in the league. That's good. What's not so good is the Lightning was averaging about 14,000 homes a game, which was the league's fifth-lowest. The Penguins have the biggest television audience with 105,000 viewers per game.
Getting back to the Panthers, it's no wonder there isn't an audience. The team is on its way to missing the postseason for the 10th consecutive season and 12th time in the past 13 seasons. Plus, it would appear South Florida fans are wrapped up in the Heat. The NBA team has an average local viewership of 82,191 homes.
Your Two Cents
I am an 83-year-old taxpayer. I like, read and watch sports on TV. I like the Rays but have only been to one spring training game and two at Tropicana Field. With the billions of dollars that the MLB moves and puts into its pocket along with the millions that many of the players make, there is no justifiable reason to a taxpayer that any tax money should go to support a stadium. If you are a businessman making money from baseball, then donate to a special fund that MLB can use to build stadiums, support teams or whatever for baseball.
Edmund W. James
Sun City Center
Obnoxious tweet of the day
A Twitter post from LeBron James from late Wednesday night:
"20+ games left in phase 2. I'm ReFOCUSED! No prisoners, I have no friends when at WAR besides my Soldiers.''
Get over yourself, LeBron. And while you're doing that, why don't you head over to Iraq or Afghanistan on an off day and see how that compares to playing basketball a few hours a week.
Three things that popped into my head
1. If one player called Celtics big man Kevin Garnett dirty, you could dismiss it. But when several players from several different teams say it, don't you think there must be something to it?
2. The Devils are a long shot to make the postseason, which is a good thing if you're the Lightning. Would you want to play them in the playoffs?
3. If there was a 24-hour network that showed only the Cubs dugout, I'd watch it.